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ACT Newsletter - The Week That Was

3 August 2012
The Week That Was

As far as legislation goes, it has been much quieter in Parliament this week
On Tuesday several Government bills - the Biosecurity Law Reform Bill, the Commerce Commission (International Co-operation and Fees) Bill and the Juries (Jury Service and Protection of Particulars of Jury List Information) Bill - all passed through Committee of the Whole House stage with ACT’s support.
ACT was also very pleased to support the Sentencing (Aggravating Factors Bill) as it progressed through Committee of the Whole House.

The bill makes it an aggravating factor at sentencing if a person committed a crime, such as an assault, against a police officer or a prison officer who was carrying out their professional duties at the time.

ACT and National also supported an amendment put forward by Labour to include assaults against ambulance officers and fire fighters as aggravating factors.

ACT is always keen to support measures to give further protection to those put themselves in dangerous situations in order to protect all of us.
On Wednesday, the House continued its Appropriation debate.
On Thursday, ACT also supported the second readings of the Non-bank Deposit Takers Bill and the Taxation (Annual Rates, Returns Filing and Remedial Matters) Bill.
But as far as politics goes…. well that was a different story.
Roasted Duck
Tuesday was John’s first day back in Parliament since the police made their announcement that he was cleared on all matters relating to his 2010 Auckland Mayoralty Campaign Return.
Opposition parties are, not surprisingly, bitterly disappointed that their efforts to destabilise the Government have finally been put to bed. No party more so than Labour.
Trevor Mallard came up with what he thought was an ingenious plan to use questions about charter schools to bring up the mayoralty donations saga to embarrass John in the House. The only problem for Mallard was that John did not just come down the river on the last cabbage boat. John was onto his plan and gave Mallard a roasting. The funniest part was that Mallard kept going with his line of questioning even though Banksie shot him down every time.
If you haven’t seen the clip of question time yet, you can watch it here.
Jane Clifton wrote a good article about the whole episode which you can read here.
Partnership Schools/Kura Hourua
Yesterday, Education Minister Hekia Parata and Associate Education Minister John Banks announced that Cabinet had signed off on the framework for charter schools.
As the framework is unique to New Zealand it was appropriate that the schools were given a name which reflected that.
The schools will be known as Partnership Schools or Kura Hourua.
The term ‘partnership’ captures the essence of the concept; they will be a partnership between the Crown and the school’s sponsor, and between the sponsor and the community.
We already have a number of different types of schools operating in New Zealand, such as state, integrated, or private schools.
Partnership schools will be another option for parents and students, giving them more freedom to choose the type of education that best suits their learning needs.
Partnerships schools or Kura Hourua will be based on international best practice and will ensure high levels of accountability and flexibility, while being tailored to New Zealand’s education environment.
Legislation will be introduced to Parliament this year and formal requests for proposals from potential sponsors will be called for once the legislation is passed. All sponsors will be expected to open their schools for the beginning of the 2014 school year.
Key Features of Partnership Schools/ Kura Hourua
• Have a sponsor as the governing body and be held to account through a fixed-term contract to deliver specific school-level targets negotiated with the Crown.
• Be required to report publicly on an annual basis on progress against the school-level targets and have that data included in any student achievement information provided by the Government to parents.
• Be approved to open by the Minister of Education
• Have the authorising body to work with Education Review Office to conduct educational performance reviews based on the terms of the contract and milestone data requirements. The Government has the right to intervene and require the sponsor to address any breach of contract.
• Partnership Schools/ Kura Hourua can choose to use The New Zealand Curriculum (NZC) or Te Marautanga o Aotearoa (TMoA), or use or develop an alternative curriculum framework that is mapped to the principles of the NZC or TMoA.
• Partnership Schools/ Kura Hourua must report against National Standards for Year 1-8 students, and must offer NCEA or an equivalent qualification recognised by industry and tertiary providers in New Zealand.
• Partnership Schools/ Kura Hourua can negotiate the percentage of registered teachers they wish to employ as part of their contracts (with Police vetting of non-teaching and unregistered employees) and negotiate salary levels and employment conditions directly with employees.
• Partnership Schools/Kura Hourua can set their own school hours and term dates as part of the contract.
• They must accept all students who apply regardless of background or ability, using a ballot if oversubscribed.
• They must negotiate the maximum number of students enrolled with the Crown as part of the contract. This can be reviewed annually according to success at serving existing students and community demand for places.
You can listen to John’s interview discussing this initiative on Radio NZ’s Check Point here
You can also listen to John’s interview on NewstalkZB here
You can also find more information at: http://partnershipschools.education.govt.nz
Kura Hourua – the story behind the name
Waka Hourua is the Māori name for the traditional sea voyaging double-hulled canoes used by the ancestors of Māori on expeditions and voyages where great distances would need to be travelled.
The two hulls joined together created a stronger and more versatile vessel better able to cope with all of the challenges of the vast Pacific Ocean.
Kura Hourua was chosen as it represents the intent behind Partnership Schools, with hourua encapsulating the notion of the partnership and journey the Government and community are embarking on and kura being commonly used for school.
The close partnership between the sponsor and the Government, and the sponsor and the community, will create a stronger, more versatile school able to meet their students’ and community’s needs.
Waka Hourua take many forms and shapes and are adorned with a range of special characteristics, just as Kura Hourua will be able to take on many forms and shapes with special characteristics tailored to their students’ needs.
Waka Hourua were used for great voyages which sought out new horizons by following new pathways. This reflects the journey that Kura Hourua will be undertaking within the New Zealand education environment.
Concerns over Unregistered Teachers Overstated
Concerns over Partnership Schools teacher registration levels expressed mainly by Opposition parties and teacher unions are unfounded.
Teaching by people who are not registered with the Teachers’ Council is already commonplace and Partnership Schools will have to justify the use of non-registered teachers in their contract.
Teachers registered with the Teachers’ Council are just one of many types of personnel in the existing education system. There are already early childhood educators, volunteers, teachers under the Limited Authority to Teach category, tertiary educators, trade courses, and staff at Private Training Establishments (PTEs) that are teaching with non-registered teachers.
Many PTEs do not have registered teachers and specialise in picking up learners who have not succeeded in the regular system even with registered teachers.
Not only is education by people who are not registered teachers more common than critics would have the public believe, they have also misunderstood the role of unregistered teachers in Partnership Schools.
Partnership Schools will be able to negotiate the ratio of registered to non-registered teachers. They will have to demonstrate what value these teachers will add and how they will raise achievement.
It will always be up to parents to decide whether to send their child to a Partnership School.

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